[IOWA STATE DAILY] Supporters and protesters greet China’s Vice President Xi

Both supporters and protesters from Iowa State, the Ames community and all over the Midwest stood outside Wednesday night in downtown Des Moines to pay a visit to China’s Vice President Xi Jinping.

Xi spent the day in Iowa visiting Muscatine and drinking tea with old friends, and later flew to Des Moines to be received at a state dinner.

More than 300 ISU students and Ames residents piled on to six charter buses late at night to Des Moines. The trip was organized by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association.

Daniel Shen, junior in finance, is a member of the CSSA and helped organize the trip to the capital. He said he was glad to have the rare opportunity to have access to the second most important leader in China.

„I’m really happy because even though I’m Chinese, I have no chance to see our leader in China, so I’m very excited to see him,” Shen said. „We Chinese people can show how we love our country and support our government and our leader.”

He also said that it’s a way to put Iowa on the map and help the state gain more recognition in the world, especially in China. He said he hopes to see improvement of Chinese-American relations.

Lu Li, junior in mechanical engineering, was another Chinese student who braved the cold to show his support for the vice president.

„The relationship between China and the United States is good,” Lu said. „We’re the two biggest countries in the world.”

He said he believes that the meeting came about because of friendship between the countries and will also help relations grow.

However, not everyone in attendance was supportive of the relationship.

Isaiah Forrest, a Chicago-based practitioner of Falun Gong, was present to protest alleged human rights violations by the Chinese government.

„The communist party of China has been persecuting Falun Gong practitioners since 1999,” he said. „Many many Chinese innocent people have been killed, tortured to death by this communist party.”

He, and about 15 other protesters held up banners, chanted and sang with hopes to bring attention to their cause.

„We are here to appeal to the people of the world to pay attention to this suffering of the Falun Gong practitioners and the human rights violations,” Forrest said. „These criminals, the communist party — they are murderers of Falun Gong practitioners. We want to stop this murder.”

Overall, some said they were skeptical as to whether this visit will actually serve to improve economic and political relations between the countries.

Charles Dobbs, professor of modern Asian history at Iowa State and resident expert on China, was willing to weigh in on his interpretation of the visit. Dobbs is currently in Hong Kong, but weighed in on the visit via email.

„The visit cannot achieve much,” Dobbs said. „And, a pleasant visit won’t affect how China calculates its policy and needs and more than it will affect how America does the same.”

Instead, Dobbs said he feels that it is simply a strategic move by both U.S. President Obama and Xi to gain more popularity at home.

„Xi wants to show other Chinese leaders and the Chinese people more generally that he has the heft to lead China and to represent the Middle Kingdom on the world stage. … Obama, similarly, is using the visit at least in part to deal with domestic issues, especially his re-election prospects,” Dobbs said. „He is saying and will continue to say what Americans want to hear even though it likely will have no effect on Xi and the collective Chinese leadership.

He said he also does not think it will help relations between China and the United States, economically or politically.

„While each side has cause to be annoyed with the other, relations are not bad except — and it is a big exception — the worldwide drive for resources that can only worsen as the Indian economy increases. There is scarcity and if China continues to consumer more, there is pressure on resources — oil, iron ore, rare earth metals, etc. — on a grand scale.”

Źródło: Iowa State Daily

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